Origin story

Innovating Since 1984

In the early 1980s, Missouri pioneered the concept of partnering with parents to embrace their important role as their child’s first and most influential teacher. Today, Parents as Teachers continues to equip early childhood organizations and family engagement professionals with information and tools that are relevant—and widely applicable—to today’s parents, families and children.

Founded in Missouri

The concept for Parents as Teachers was developed in the 1970s when Missouri educators noted that children were beginning kindergarten with varying levels of school readiness. Research showed that greater parent involvement is a critical link in the child’s development of learning skills, including reading and writing.

With funding from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and The Danforth Foundation, Parents as Teachers began in 1981 in Missouri as a pilot project for first-time parents of newborns. Recognizing the program’s benefits and cost-effectiveness, the Missouri legislature provided state funding in 1985 to implement Parents as Teachers programs in all Missouri school districts.


Serving Families Worldwide

Since 1984, Parents as Teachers has expanded across the United States and six other countries. Grounded in the latest research, Parents as Teachers develops curricula that support a parent’s role in promoting school readiness and healthy development of children. Our approach is intimate and relationship-based. We embrace learning experiences that are relevant and customized for the individual needs of each family and child.

Our Global Footprint

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